The start of bulk wheat handling and CBH
During the Great Depression handling and transport costs were crippling wheat farmers. In response, Westralian Farmers’ second General Manager John Thomson proposed the introduction of cooperative bulk handling.
Thomson and his team invented a diesel powered bucket elevator to move wheat from storage bins into railway trucks. A trial of the new system in the Wyalkatchem region showed that farmers had made savings of between two pence and two and a half pence per bushel. There are around 37 bushels in one tonne of wheat.
The success of this trial led to the establishment in 1933 of a new company, Co-operative Bulk Handling Ltd, to administer and expand grain bulk handling. It remains a farmer’s co-operative to this day, with net assets of more than $1 billion and interests in storage, handling, marketing and processing of grain.